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  1. #1
    Young Dawg (Member)

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    Default Hi newbie looking for guidance

    Hi all,

    I lost my st.Bernard/Newphie mix this past March after 11 years together. He was a wonderful dog and I got him as a year old rescue from the local shelter. I've been looking for another animal companion and stumbled across a breeder of LGD on the other side of NY. They are Great Pyrenees/Maremma mixed. He has one in particular that he says he doesn't want to see get used for LGD use as he is so people focused. That pup is about 16 weeks old.

    The guy seems very nice and informative. He has them himself for livestock use. But everything I've read on these breeds leads me to believe it might not be a good fit. I've joined this site with the hopes someone will steer me in the right direction.

    I'm 50 but active and like to hike and cross country ski. My old dog would hike/ski everywhere off leash with me. I'm single with no children in the home and I live in a 3br ranch on 3 acres surrounded (mostly) by unused farmland. I recently put up a 6' fence and it's about 300 foot not including the house in anticipation of my next dog. I also plan on installing a dog door(I know it would need to be pretty darn large!). But mainly when home the dog would be with me and go with me out and about(town, parks, friends, etc)...a companion. The dog would be in at night or have the option of going out via the dog door.

    I work 9-5 but can come home for lunch(mostly). My questions is would a dog like this be suited as a house dog/hiking companion? They seem like loving, affectionate dogs but I'm wondering if this is a poor fit. You don't see too many people keeping them as house pets(at least I haven't). The guy seems to think he would adapt fine but I'm not sure. Any advice appreciated.

    Here are a couple of recent photos. I'm sure you can see why I'm so smitten.

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  2. #2
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) nick's spirit's Avatar

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    Welcome MarkJ.....thank you for asking questions & doing research before bringing this guy into your home & heart....

    As a hiking/skiing companion off leash...might not work....the best description for a Pyrenees off leash is called a Dis-a-Pyr...

    As with any puppy you are looking at dedicating time to potty training...do you have that, or can you put the pup in a secure area to help with that kind of training?

    here's the bottom line as I see it....all dogs, like people, are different...it's nice to hear that this breeder thinks this is not a candidate for being an LGD....and that this would be a better companion dog.

    I have had 2 females & 2 males in my years of having Pyr's in my life...2 I could actually trust off leash (sort of)...and my current one that is definitely not trustworthy off leash, and 1 that was so anxious she needed to be on medication....

    so hard to say what your guy would be like...my guess....depends on how much time & effort you put into making him a well mannered companion...

    our Pyr currently spends alot of time outside (unless it's the summer, then he's in the house in between the air conditioning vents!)
    we bring him in at night for several reasons...barking ( he keeps us up) and skunks!!! (he's been doused 3 times now)

    he does like coming in & being part of the "family"

    let us know what you decide....sorry if this doesn't really answer your question or concerns

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  3. #3
    Young Dawg (Member)

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    Default

    Thanks for your honest assessment. Your dogs are beautiful by the way. The gentleman said he'd take him back if there were problems but I don't know if I could do that and I want to make sure he's happy. I would be willing to train and put time in but I'll also be a work during most of the day mon-fri. I also have a lot friends who have dogs and we get together and hit the local park or hike so it would be good for him to be social. I know GP mixes can be guarded and while I'd be socializing him as much as possible it could be problematic.

  4. #4
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) mikelg84's Avatar

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    Hi MarkJ,

    What a beautiful puppy!

    Here are my thoughts:

    1) Every dog is different, which makes it very hard to predict how this puppy will behave (as you probably know).
    2) I have an Anotalian - GP mix that wasn't good enough for being an LGD. Some of the puppies stayed in the farm where they were born in Tennessee, but some of them were sent to a shelter in Michigan. I do believe that people who have a lot of experience with working with GP can sort of predict how a GP is going to behave. I don't think it's as easy as 1+1=2, but I do believe some people can tell if a dog has the ability and capacity to be a working dog. From what you've said, it seems like this puppy might like to be with people rather than livestock.

    My dog in particular loves people and doesn't mind being inside. If I'm inside, she is always attached to my hip. GP are very affectionate dogs.

    3) Potty training wasn't too bad. Having a dog's door helped me for the first couple of months, because she would go outside to potty when I wasn't home. But when she found her voice... I had to lock the door, because she would go outside in the middle of the night to bark at things and IT WAS LOUD! And I didn't want the neighbors to complain. These days I only use the dog's door once in a blue moon when I know I have to stay at work late and I can't have somebody to let her out. A dog's door might be helpful for you.

    4) Although my dog spends most of her time in the house, she loves going for walks (and runs!) with me. I am one of those people that believe that a GP can live a happy life being a house dog as long as you have the time to spend quality time with him.

    5) A GP off a leash? Well... I don't have a pure GP so I'm not the right person to ask that question. But what I can tell you is that my dog does very well off the leash. Depending on where we hike or run, I let her off the leash and she's always by me or by my friends. She likes to lead the way sometimes, but she never runs away. She always stops to look if I'm following her. So yes, I do trust her off the leash. I trust her in the woods when there are only hikers and runners and their dogs.

    If you end up taking this beautiful puppy home, let us know!

    I hope some of stories can answer some of your questions.

  5. #5
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) Jewel's Avatar

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    We are on our 4th pyr. Well, ok, to be entirely honest, technically 3.5 since one of them was only 50% pyr.... that would be the one on the right of my avatar pic.

    We live in the midst of a large city. Our house is tiny and our yard is pretty small. To give you a good idea, our entire lot is only 0.17 acre. You get the idea. Our dogs have thrived with lots of walks and training and competitive sports.

    This breeder seems like a very decent person. He's observing his pups and wants the right home for them. What you are describing as your situation sounds like a pretty good home to me. The only thing I would say, which Nancy has already pointed out, is that I cannot say that the pyr would be trustworthy off leash.

    This whole offleash thing depends on what your situation is and what your expectations are. For me, my current young 2-yr old is pretty much devoted to me and I'm know for certainty he has no desire to run away from me when off leash. The real problem with him is that he doesn't have good recall - which is typical of pyrs -- meaning that if he sees another dog and he wants go greet, I wouldn't be able to stop him with voice command. He's extremely friendly and sweet so I am not worried about him starting fights, but nevertheless he's not going to respond to recall commands right away. So in a densely populated city with traffic around, he doesn't get to go offleash unless we're in a dog park. But that's very different from his wanting to run away because he doesn't. His aunt before him was pretty much the same way. I know that one of our members that used to post who lives in New Mexico used to take her pyr hiking off leash and he was just fine.

    Other than the offleash thing, as far as hiking is concerned, I think pyrs make pretty good hiking dogs. For centuries they have been bred to roam mountain ranges with the livestock. So they have it in their breeding to roam far and wide. We being city folks, I don't have easy hiking options. Instead, when Ren turned 18 months, i started jogging him. He's now 2 and we've worked up to jogging about 3 miles a day.

    For nearly a dozen years we were a 2-pyr household. But now Ren is an only child. He has some separation anxiety issues which I had to spend some time working with, and continues to have to manage on some level, but he's now able to be in the backyard during the day while we are at work. None of his predecessors had separation anxiety problems. So, unless this puppy you are looking at happens to have separation anxiety, he should be able to learn to cope with being home by himself, with doggie door access, just fine.

    So, in my experience, having raised only companion pyrs, I think your situation is not at all bad for a pyr that a breeder has already identified would not be suitable to work as a LGD. Also, I have to say, this puppy is serious adorable...

    My vote is YES!

  6. #6
    Young Dawg (Member)

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    Thanks all. I really appreciate you sharing your experiences. I've had so many people tell me this won't work it's good to hear some positive stories. Still a lot to think about. He has such a loving, calm, intelligent look in his eyes. They really think he's special even though they told me he's been passed over a couple of times for different dogs that are younger or had different colors. I guess I'll only know if I go see him. One thing positive about him being an older pup is that his personality should be starting to establish itself.

  7. #7
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) Jewel's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkJ View Post
    I've had so many people tell me this won't work it's good to hear some positive stories.
    It all depends on who you ask. If you ask people who only keep LGDs, many of them are going to say pyrs make lousy house pets. They are correct in that with the dogs that are hard core working dogs those guys have no interest in being indoors. A friend of mine at one point in her life was living on 30,000 acres raising sheep. Their herd roamed all over the huge acreage protected by half a dozen pyrs who hardly had contact with humans. There was one pyr that she was particularly fond of and she tried to coax him into the house on a number of occasions and he just wasn't interested. But not all pyrs are cut out to be working dogs. Most of us on this site have companion pyrs, many of which have never met/seen livestock. Then there are others who start out life as non-LGDs but then become LGDs later in life. One of the most famous ones was a top show dog some years back. He was on the show circuit, showing year round with a professional handler for a good 3 years I would say and was the top show pyr. After he retired back to his owners, he was turned out with the livestock and I heard he was happy being a LGD.

  8. #8
    Young Dawg (Member)

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    Quote Originally Posted by nick's spirit View Post
    ...it's nice to hear that this breeder thinks this is not a candidate for being an LGD....and that this would be a better companion dog.
    He did say he could be used for that. But he claims he's special and he seems kind of attached in a way. He said if it doesn't work he'd take him back and use him as a work dog. I guess if he really means this I have nothing to lose. I've done so much research on LGDs the past week that regular breeds are starting to seem meh...I'm not sure why that is. I guess there's something mejestic about a dog that protects it's own and can think for itself. I've always had dogs and don't ask a lot of them....just come, sit and the rest has always sorted itself out. I'm with my dogs constantly though and that immersion sort solves a lot of things. If I didn't have to work I think I'd always have a dog with me. Having been without a dog since March is a loong stretch for me.

  9. #9
    Young Dawg (Member)

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikelg84 View Post
    Hi MarkJ,


    3) Potty training wasn't too bad. Having a dog's door helped me for the first couple of months, because she would go outside to potty when I wasn't home. But when she found her voice... I had to lock the door, because she would go outside in the middle of the night to bark at things and IT WAS LOUD! And I didn't want the neighbors to complain. These days I only use the dog's door once in a blue moon when I know I have to stay at work late and I can't have somebody to let her out. A dog's door might be helpful for you.

    I feel this way too. With the dog door he'd have an option to be in the "Den" or outdoors and it might alleviate an potential separation anxiety.

    4) Although my dog spends most of her time in the house, she loves going for walks (and runs!) with me. I am one of those people that believe that a GP can live a happy life being a house dog as long as you have the time to spend quality time with him.

    Agreed that's so important
    Very good points!!!

  10. #10
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) mikelg84's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkJ View Post
    I've done so much research on LGDs the past week that regular breeds are starting to seem meh...I'm not sure why that is.
    I went through the same phase.

    I spent endless nights studying the breed and even the night before I adopted her, I had serious doubts about the choice I was making.
    The things that stick out when I was "researching" the breed were:

    - "They need to be socialized when they're puppies": this is one of the statements that I followed rigorously because this was what scared me the most. The day I got my dog I had friends over for dinner, drinks and some of them even stayed the night. When I look back at that day, I think I might have been a little bit overdramatic but hey, I didn't want to risk it A couple of days later I introduced her to other puppies from friends and neighbors, because she was (and still is) my only dog.

    From what I've seen over the years, most GP that have been socialized early, love being around people and other dogs.

    - "They bark a lot": Well, this is very true. They do tend to bark. This might be a problem when you live in an apartment or when your dog is an outdoor dog and your next door neighbors can't stand the barks. Most people that complain about barking have been able to solve the problem by brining the dog inside. I remember a family that couldn't do it because of severe allergies of one of the persons that lived in the house. However, I don't think this is going to be a problem for you.

    - "They don't listen": It's not like they don't listen. They're very smart, and as you probably know by now, they think by themselves. Some dogs within this breed are more receptive to verbal commands than others. Training plays an important role here. This is always going to be a long process, but I would say that it gets better with time. We can't classify GP as obedient dogs per ser, but to me, this is what makes them special. It's the most frustrating but also the most rewarding challenge you might face - definitely the most frustrating and rewarding challenge I have faced with my dog. But she makes me so proud when she listens to my commands. There is a poster on this forum that has a therapy dog that happens to be a GP!!!!

    And don't forget that GP are so incredibly loyal. Remember that if you bring that puppy home, you will become his livestock and his job will be to protect you. He might chose not to listen to you when you want to bring him inside, but I'm sure he will find other ways to make you happy and loved.

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